Sunday, April 24, 2005

Benny dog

Billy is one of our dogs, the other one is Benny. He is also a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and is a few years older than Billy.
As you can see Benny has a very hard life, has to sleep on lounges inside. Poor dog! In this picture he is looking a bit aprehensive about having his photo taken, reality is though he is wondering why the hell I'm not on the lounge also for him to lie on!


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Carnival of the Recipes

... is up. Another wonderful job done by Be of bebere.com, there are definitely some good ones there to try.

Next week is brought to us by Caltechgirl.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Chilli Beef

This recipe I learnt to cook at a Community College course on Thai cooking. It is a relatively simple dish, but is quite yummy.

Ingredients


2-3 tbsp oil
4 cloves of garlic (chopped fine)
4-6 red chillies (chopped fine - remove seeds)
700g beef (1.5 pounds) beef (I use top side steak for this, cut thin slices across the grain)
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 cup of chicken stock
4 shallots (also known as scallions, cut white part in rings/green part angle cut)
1/2 capsicum (bell pepper) thin slices
1 tbsp of basil leaves (4 or 5)
1/2 tsp of white pepper

Method
  1. Prepare all the ingredients. This dish should only be started about 30 minutes before you wish to serve. It should not be kept warm or reheated.
  2. Heat oil in wok. Medium to high. Cook garlic to honey brown colour.
  3. Reduce heat slightly and add meat, stir fry until the meat has lost its redness.
  4. Add chillies and stir fry for 2-3 minutes then add the fish and oyster sauces. Stir fry for another 4-5 minutes.
  5. Turn heat to low-medium and sprinkle in the white pepper. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Turn heat up slightly and add chicken stock. Cover and simmer until meat is tender.
  7. Add white part of shallot and stir fry.
  8. Add capsicum and stir fry.
  9. Bring to high simmer.
  10. Add green part of shallot and basil leaves. Toss all together.
  11. Serve hot with plain boiled rice

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Star Wars music

This may well be a sign I've watched the classic Star Wars trilogy (as opposed to the visually impressive but slightly crappy new ones), but here is a game where you can guess what music goes with what scene. Being the Star Wars tragic that I am, it took me about a second for each one. I've always thought that that music was the best soundtrack of a movie ever. Lord of the Rings isn't bad, but can get a bit depressing sometimes.

Link for the game comes from Mellie Helen of Golly Blog Howdy

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Silly people, allegedly

So nine Australians have been detained in Bali, accused of attempting to smuggle heroin out to Australia. If convicted, they could face the firing squad.

The alleged "mastermind" apparently said the following:

"What ever happened to Schapelle Corby happened to me. They are convicting me of something I didn't do"

Hmm ... couple of differences between him and Schapelle. For those of you not up on the case Schapelle has been in jail in Bali since about last October I think, on trial for bringing marijuana into Bali. She claims (and it appears from the evidence I've heard to be true), that the drugs were planted in one of her bags. She also could face the firing squad if convicted, although it is now thought the prosecutors will ask for life in prison.

The heroin mastermind *cough* allegedly had the heroin strapped to his leg. I would think it would be a bit difficult to miss someone trying to plant drugs on you by sticky taping them to your body!

You'd have to be out of your mind to try drug smuggling in Indonesia. Although I feel bad that they might die, I'm just shaking my head that they tried it in the first place. (BTW, the claims are just alleged at the moment, so innocent until proven guilty and all that. Just shaking my head if they did actually do it).

Monday, April 18, 2005

Carnival of the Dogs

The Carnival of the Dogs is up, if you wanta see a few piccys of cute poochies!

I feel pretty

Oh so pretty ... lar lar lar

Why the musical number?

Haloscan comments/trackbacks are fully functional and the formatting is sorted too, so they look neat and tidy (pretty!)

Huge mucho thanks to Caltechgirl and Harvey who helped me sort out my mess, I am full to the brim with thankfulness at the generosity of my mates in the blogosphere.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

Carnival of the Recipes is up. This week it is hosted by The Countertop Chronicles. Lots of yummy recipes to try out, that's for sure.

Carnival of the Dogs

Hoorah, I've discovered a Carnival of the Dogs. I'd actually been thinking of putting one together myself, but now I don't have to! It goes up every Sunday.

Here is my inaugural contribution. When one of my friends saw this shot, he thought we'd photoshopped it. Nope. This is normal for our laughing Billy.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes - Chicken chilli burgers

This is one I've done a couple of times now over the last few weeks, and it has gone onto our must have once a week list. It's from Ainsley Harriott's "low fat meals in minutes", and is quick and easy to make. Another plus is that we can make use of our fresh herbs in the garden, there's always a bit of satisfaction when you can use something you've grown yourself.

Ainsley even includes nutrition notes in this book, I don't tend to get that involved reading them, but on this one at the top it has "really low fat!", so it must be healthy. It certainly doesn't skimp on taste though, sensational!

**Update: Rocket is also known as Arugula. Arugula is an aromatic salad green. It is also known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola, and is popular in Italian cuisine. Sheesh! Another ingredient known by many different names.

Serves 4

Ingredients

500g (1lb 2oz) lean minced chicken
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (don't forget to wear the gloves, ouchies otherwise!)
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or coriander (cilantro). I like both these so I tend to use 1 tbsp parsley, 1 tbsp coriander.
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
olive oil, for brushing
salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
burger buns
rocket and tomato slices

Method

1. Mix together the minced chicken, garlic, chilli, herbs, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of salt and pepper.

2. Shape the mixture into 4 even-sized burgers, then brush lightly with the oil. Pre heat the grill to medium (I tend to do these in a fry pan on the stove, still medium temp)

3. Grill for 5 minutes on each side until well browned and cooked through. Actual time is variable, depends how flat you make them before cooking. Serve in burger buns with rocket and juicy sliced tomatoes.

For those interested in the nutrition notes per serving, here they are:
  • calories 149
  • protein 28g
  • carbohydrate 1g
  • fat 3g
  • saturated fat 1g
  • fibre none (bit surprised at that, buns would have fibre, I'm guessing this is just for the pattie)
  • added sugar none
  • salt 0.58g

Trackbacks

Hoorah, Trackbacks work. Thank you to Jeff, who tested it out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Guest map

As you can see from my sidebar I've added a nifty little Guest map. So go on, be a sport, stick a pin in the world, so I can see where you are from!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Nnngghhh

The title alludes to the frustration I am experiencing getting haloscan comments and trackbacks up and running.

I got some brilliant code from VW of One Happy Dog Speaks, for which I am much appreciative. But being the coding newb that I am, I must be missing something, 'cause although the pre Haloscan comments are displaying beautifully, for the new comments and trackbacks it is just displaying two dots. They seem to link through to the right places, will try commenting myself in a sec, but not displaying the words next to the dots!

Any help would be majorly gratefully received.

Work news

Well, work was certainly different in a crappy way today.

We found out that our team and a couple of other teams are being transitioned (consolidated is the word they used) to another location in a different state.

So basically, within the next couple of months, I have to find myself a new job. I've been in this one since Oct 2001, so it has come as quite a shock. I mean, sure the signs were on the wall in a way, no people getting replaced lately after they left, but to be told about it, and see it in black and white in a presentation really winded me. At one point I could feel tears coming, and I fiercely told myself "Keep it together, you are a grown adult for goodness sake, just keep it together!"

Apparently they are going to try to redeploy us, but we are fixed term hires, which means that if there are jobs going, the permanents will get first preference. Which is all fine and understandable from the business perspective, but I don't really know what likelihood there is of there being a job for me.

They did say I could move to this country town in this other state it is going to, (sorry to be vague or circumspect, I can't really give details away) and be given a permanent job, and they went on about how things are cheaper there, some people have even bought houses *gasp*!

Seeing as I have no desire to move from the house we have just spent the last couple of years organising and building, and also would not want to move away from friends and family, I won't be taking them up on the offer.

Time for a drink, I think.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Skype

My brother and I chat a fair bit on msn, especially since his baby boy arrived. It's good, 'cause I never know when to phone them, I don't want to wake anyone up.

Yesterday my bro told me about skype, which you can use to actually call each other over the internet. Very cool, indeed!

It's free software, and you can use it to call people all over the world! For free! (I'm a fan of things being free .. hehe)

We just tried it out, and it was pretty damn cool hearing my brother's voice coming out of my speakers. It was very good quality, no delay or anything. (Although I've heard if you are talking to people overseas sometime there can be a little delay.)

Which gave me an idea. *bing*

Perhaps we could have a bloggers conference call, that would be something! If any of you regulars would like to give it a go, leave me a comment or drop me an email (amanda(at)gmail(dot)com), and we'll see what we can organise. And if you don't wanna do a conference thing, and just want to chat one on one, that's cool too!
I'd love to hear those wacky American accents (and I'm always partial to an Aussie accent!)

Not nuts about peanut butter?

So, Thursday night last week, the hubby and I were watching Lost. They are up to Episode 8, and all in all we are enjoying the show.

Puzzling thing happened in this episode though. The puzzling thing this time was not a plot point as such, no mysterious allusion to a past history of one of the characters. It was with a line in the script that the character Claire came out with. Charlie is quizzing her about what cravings she has, being pregnant and all, saying she must have at least one, and her reply was this:

"Peanut butter. I'm the only Australian who loves peanut butter."

Huh?

Since when? Who says? Hubby and I looked at each other and couldn't believe it. I mean, who does the research for this show? I have never heard that we don't as a country like peanut butter. The actor who plays Claire is actually Australian, I would have thought she'd give them a heads up.

Growing up I practically lived on the stuff, had it on my sandwiches every day at school.

And just to prove the fact that peanut butter is not some poor outcast of a spread here, I sneaked a photo of the rows of it on sale at our local supermarket.

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Am I *nuts* for going this far to prove a point? Probably.
Is it a biggy in the grand scheme of things? Of course not, I just thought it was an odd thing for them to make up.

I'm wondering what other misconceptions about Aussies are out there now. I'll have to keep watching Lost to find out! :)


Belated Happy Anniversary wishes

Under the better late than never category, I'd just like to wish Harvey and TNT a very Happy 6th Wedding Anniversary for the 9th April.

From the piccy below, it is easy to see how she keeps Mr Bad Example in line! Look at that bicep, I wouldn't mess with her :)

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Ecosystem

Wow, I'm now a flappy bird in the TTLB Ecosystem, I better see if I can figure out how to use these wings!

This instalanche might have had something to do with it! :)

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #34

Well here it is, Carnival of the Recipes #34. And can I just say wow, take a look at all these recipes! It has been such an honour to host this, and to take a look at some fine recipes and blogs.

"If music be the food of love, play on" - Shakespeare


Image   Hosted by ImageShack.usAppetizers

Apparently, what's Inside Allan's Mind is a nice recipe for Mushroom-Onion Focaccia. It goes well either as an appetizer or an accompaniment.

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Image   Hosted by ImageShack.usSalads/sides


A summertime (you lucky people!) saute of corn and zucchini) from Shawn of Everything and Nothing looks like a sure fired winner, and it's healthy to boot!

From bothenook of A Geezer's Corner) is a broccoli salad that is a real crowd pleaser, I will definitely be adding this one to my salad repertoire.

Oddybobo at Bobo Blogger presents Sesame Green Beans. I'm also a fan of sesame seeds, but don't have many recipes that use it. Thanks Oddybobo!

We get two sides from the chef at booklore. First a Spinach Salad and with the leftover ingredients you can make Tasty Rice. Both look delish and easy to make, always good.

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Image   Hosted by ImageShack.usBread/Dough


Kevin of Technogypsy gives us his Basic Bread recipe. Apparently his oldest kid made about 30 loaves of this for a science project!


A dough with a difference is David's recipe for Dead Dough. Apparently it is best as a decorative material for baked craft items, although you could eat it if you wanted. Hmm... I need to get out more, I haven't heard of baked craft items :)

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Image   Hosted by ImageShack.usMain

VW of One Happy Dog Speaks brings us the always yummy lasagna, not only the favourite of Garfield, but also very popular in my household. There's even a piccy (of the lasagna that is, not my household!)

Recipe Carnival debutante Mr Bingley has a scrumptious looking chicken dish, which apparently is "Something to Eat with a Nice Zinfandel". However I'm a bit scared of the size of the chickens over there if parts of their body can be called Pamelas!

From Karen of the Let's Play Restaurant! blog we have Oven-Fried Whole Wheat Chicken. Looks good, and it comes from a book I think I'll have to get, called "365 Ways to Cook Chicken". Chicken ... mmmmmmm!

Chicken seems to be a popular meat this week. The first of two recipes Christina of Feisty Repartee submitted is a Chicken Riesling dish. Two of the ingredients it contains are amongst my very favourite, garlic and coriander. Thanks Christina!

Elisson at Blog d'Elisson presents "See No Weevil" Chili. You have to see the back story to get the title, my lord, these people must love their chili! I'm putting this recipe on my to do list. Mind you, I'm probably putting all these recipes there ... hehe

Brian B of Memento Moron writes a very entertaining piece on Oregon, it's origins and it's food. He presents us with Home (State) Cooking. This is the first I've read Brian B's blog, and I know I will be going back.

This next one you'll need to put a bib on before reading ... seriously. Ready? Punctilious of Like News but Tasty puts forward a mouth watering steak by the name of Uncle Jack's Fire Steak. Just take a look at the piccy of the steak ... drooool! He wouldn't normally put butter with steak, but it was a lean piece of meat, and only a little butter. Sounds good to me!

Also, from Punctilious comes a recreation of Trader Joe's Chicken Kabobs. Here's a little advice from the chef: "Don't leave the
chicken in contact with the fresh pineapple for too long. The
enzymes will soften the chicken too much. Also, you can skip the
baking step but you have to make sure you grill the chicken to a safe
degree of doneness."

Caltechgirl of Not exactly Rocket Science has put up a recipe on her brand spanking new site. Love the new look, Caltechgirl! Anyways, the recipe is for Rotini and Sweet Pepper Primavera. Looks good and quick to make, a perfect dinner for during the week.

Two offerings from BJ of Quite Early One Morning. First up is a fresh look at an old favourite, Straight Up Baccala.

The second recipe, Quick Spicy Asian Chicken Soup w/ Pot Stickers looks sure to cure any cold. I'm a firm believer in chicken soup as a comfort food, when you are feeling a bit under the weather.

Dave of "the glittering eye" fame shares similar foody tastes with the hubby and I. This week he submits a recipe for Basque baked beans from Louis's Basque. I'm not normally a bean fan, but this one looks great, and it comes with an interesting story too, which I'm always a fan of. He reckons it could be a substantial side or a great main course, but taking a look at it, I think it belongs in the main category.

If you like your food hot and spicy, then Triticale's recipe for "The Devil's Spaghetti" is for you. Sounds devilishly good.

Jeff from Trub (apparently pronounced troob)has an attempt at convincing us that quiche is not only for girly men with his recipe titled " Paul's Crab Quiche". Hmmm ... I don't know about the girly bit, but as a woman I can say that this quiche looks sensational!

Laughing Wolf (I love that name!)delivers a splendid rendition of Roast Lamb this week. Lamb, garlic and rosemary is a match made in heaven.

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Image Hosted by ImageShack.usDesserts/Cakes

The second recipe Christina of Feisty Repartee submitted is a Fresh Strawberry Pie. It's not hard to see why this is one of her favourite desserts.

Michele from Meanderings has a bread pudding which is an old family recipe. Anything with cinnamon has gotta be good!

Tinker from The Secret Life of Shoes has a very topical submission with her Pope Cake recipe. Apparently he was fond of chocolate and almonds, and who wouldn't be!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image   Hosted by ImageShack.usBiscuits/Cookies (In Aus, as some of you know, the two words are interchangeable)

The Thomas from Food for The Thomas has given us his Grandma Hop's recipe for Raisin Cookies. The recipe dates back to 1951, so looks like it's a keeper.

Mary Beth has an incredibly easy looking recipe for Chess Bars. I have it on good authority no actual chess pieces were harmed in the making of this recipe.

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And now for something completely different. Helen has sent in a slideshow all about sugar, and here is what she has to say on the subject:

"I hope you like. As we are almost exactly opposite on the Earth, we are coming into our Spring, but it is much, much colder here. This is a special time of year when the maple trees "run" with sap, and the Old Timers go to their groves to make sugar. My slideshow is not exactly a recipe, but it's foody enough and weird enough to be fun. It's an ancient custom, but so far as I know, nobody has ever bothered to photograph the entire process with a traditional evaporator. I took the pix on Easter Day, so they are fresh!"

Thanks Helen, cool piccys!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Hooray, it's a Carnival

Well, not yet, but later in the week I'll be hosting the Carnival of the Recipes. I've received four yummy recipes so far, keep 'em coming!

For those of you who haven't submitted before, and have a favourite recipe you'd like to share with the world, drop an email with a link to recipe(dot)carnival(at)gmail(dot)com.

**Update - If you don't have a blog you can still submit a recipe. Just email the recipe to the above address, and I'll include it in the carnival.

Stranger in a strange land

Let me just say from the outset, I have never been a girly girl. Growing up, I liked to climb trees, ride my skateboard (one of those old skinny numbers with dodgy wheels!), and play street cricket. I did own a couple of dolls, but I was never particularly sure what I was supposed to do with them.

Anyways, I've just been invited to a baby shower. This is the second one I've been to this year. GAAAAHH!! Now, I'm all about supporting my friends/family, and wild horses couldn't make me not go. But geez, this is definitely a strange place to be in. The first thing you notice is the noise. 15 women in one room can get loud enought to burst eardrums, it is no wonder the guys clear out.

Also, I am at prime child bearing age, so you just know most of the women in the room either have babies already, or are pregnant. There are many tales of birth, babies, references to all things pink (or blue if it is a boy). Not that there is anything wrong with that at all. It is just I start to feel like a stranger in a strange land.

Anyway, I offered to help out, thinking I could bring some food or something (my forte), but I got an email back asking me if I knew any good games that weren't too weird. Ermmm... the games all tend to be a bit on the weird side at these things, so I am totally clueless.

If anyone can provide any suggestions, I am all ears.

Also, this is for a baby that has already been born, and we've done the whole pressy thing. The invite says not to bring anything, but I am thinking people will bring stuff anyway. What is the etiquette here, buy another pressy? Maybe flowers? ...hmmm I like the flowers idea, maybe I'll go with that.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

How to start a fire (given a fireplace, etc)

My first post, hooray! Sorry it took a while ...

Down here, we're coming into winter, which can be particularly severe (for our US friends, 4.5 C = 40 F. Brrr!). And so, to see us through, we have an open fire. Now, our first fire of the season was going to be last weekend, but unfortunately the temperature got over 30 C (which becomes 86 F when you go to the US), so it's been postponed to this weekend. In anticipation, I'm remembering the rules of fire starting:

  1. Cheat. Use some fire starters, especially for the first few fires.
  2. Start small, with newspaper and twigs. Wait until that's burning nicely, and then put on larger pieces. Slowly progress up to the large logs. I'm always tempted to build an elaborate structure, carefully layered with the correct materials, like some reverse archeological dig. What should happen is that a small flame, deftly applied to a particular point, will grow into a blazing fire while I sit and watch. What actually happens is that the flame is smothered, and I have to start again. Putting logs on too early will also smother it, and I'm usually a bit impatient for the first few fires. This is why we have Step 1. Eventually, the large logs are burning nicely. This usually takes 30 minutes - this is an open fire, remember. And I have to give Amanda enough time to cook dinner :-).
  3. Now, step 3 is to tend the fire while it is still burning ok - don't wait until it starts to die! This is a little paradoxical; I've often got up to tend the fire, and "someone" has said "what are you doing? don't mess with it when it's looking so good!". But, of course, that's when you have to "mess with it", because when it stops being good, it's too late, and you're back to step 2.
  4. Enjoy. And if it's been more than 10 minutes since your partner has said how good the fire looks, say it yourself.

No doubt there are clever analogies that can be made each of these (eg. the I Ching : "The development must be allowed to take its proper course. Hasty action would not be wise. This is also true, finally, of any effort to exert influence on others"). But a nice fire is it's own reward. And no one appreciates Surviver being interrupted, so wait until the ad break for any long-winded philosophical insights (I could have made this Step 5). All being well, I'll post a photo next week.

Monday, April 04, 2005

little ouch

I just sent the dogs outside (they have a dog door, but have to be convinced to go out to the toilet when it has been raining), and noticed that they seemed very interested in something in the back corner.

I go down there and when I tried to move Benny out of the way to see what he was so interested in, he growled at me. No, this can't be good. I ba'd him *see explanation below, and he then ran to the top of the yard. I chased him and realised he had something in his mouth. By now Billy was super interested 'cause it must be something tasty if Ben's got it, so he's chasing him too. So now Benny is growling at Billy and they run around the house and in through the dog door. I caught him, and found that he had what looked like a lamb bone in his mouth, one of those little circular ones you get in lamb chops.

I tried to get him to drop it, but no dice, he doesn't do drop, only Billy knows how. So, here I am a grown woman, trying to pry a lamb bone out of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These are not big dogs, he probably comes up to about the middle of my shinbone, and weighs about 10 kilos.

So, I pick him up and put him on a chair, figuring, one, he's trapped, two, he is more at my level so it should be easier to pry out the bone.

Well I finally got it out, him hanging on for grim death, imitating a steel trap with his jaw. I came out of it with a couple of nice indents on my fingers from his teeth.
So little ouch, no biggy there.

What is annoying, though, is that this is the second time I've found my dogs with a bone like this, the other time it was Billy, and he gave it up more easily. What we can't figure out is how they are getting them. Both times it was near the fence of our neighbour, but they have their own dog, and I don't see them giving our dogs bones, or rather just one small knuckle of a bone. The only thing we can figure is that a bird is picking it up somewhere and dropping it in our yard as the spot is directly beneath a gum tree.

Either way, sucks to be ripping bones out of dogs mouths.

* We got bark busters out when Benny was younger as he was barking a fair bit when we moved one time. They taught us we have to show him who is boss. So, in essence we have to act like we are the alpha dogs of the pack. This means making a deep growling noise saying the word ba, which apparently simulates alpha dogs telling off lower dogs.
Do we feel ridiculous? Yes, especially if we have company over.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #33

In a Sci Fi themed addition to the Carnival, the 33rd Carnival of the Recipes is up now at TexasBestGrok. Thanks John.

Which means folks, that this time next week, yours truly will be the Host of this wonderful Carnival ... *gulp* ... I'm sure I'll be fine, really!